UN chief urges preparedness for water-related disasters

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Earthquake and tsunami in Japan

Lessons can be learned from countries that have experienced water-related disasters around the world, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Wednesday.

He told the first General Assembly thematic session on water and disasters that his five-year agenda for the United Nations includes supporting national disaster risk reduction plans.

Participants in the session included survivors from the massive earthquake that caused a devastating tsunami in Japan on 11 March 2011.

"Since the March 11th disaster, Japan has reached out to the world to share its lessons so that other countries will not face the same devastation. Japan is not alone. Thailand, Indonesia, the Netherlands, the United States, and Mozambique have all dealt effectively with water-related disasters. They have invaluable experiences with prevention, forecasting, response, recovery and reconstruction." (31")

Secretary-General Ban stressed the need for early warning systems, disaster education and resilient structures.

At the same time, he said the fundamental threat of climate change must be addressed.

Secretary-General Ban urged world leaders to keep their promise to reach a global, legally binding climate change agreement by 2015.

The meeting brought together representatives of the international community, governments and civil society.

Gerry Adams, United Nations.

Duration: 1'32"

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